On CNN’s “The Situation Room” on Friday, left-of-center commentator Marc Lamont Hill reacted to A&E’s decision to continue “Duck Dynasty” with Phil Robertson as the so-called patriarch, despite his controversial remarks earlier this month.
Hill explained that A&E did what it thought was in its interest, although he called that decision “morally reprehensible.”
“Here’s the thing – I’m not surprised that they’re doing this,” Hill said. “They had to make some sort of gesture to make people happy. And they did that with the suspension, which essentially meant nothing. Companies have a right to make decisions about who they want to stand next to. That’s why I disagree with Will [Cain]. If for example he had said he was a card-carrying atheist and he was working for the Bible Network, it would be reasonable for them to say, ‘We don’t want that person representing our network.’ As a card-carrying homophobe, A&E has a right to say, ‘As people who care about the LGBT community, we don’t want him standing next to us.’ I don’t think it’s about silencing speech or behavior, it’s about deciding who you want your branch to represent or represented by.”
“A&E decided that the 14 million viewers and millions and hundreds of millions of dollars that come with that is worth more than the LGBT community,” Hill continued. “That was the choice that they made. I don’t like the choice. I think it’s morally reprehensible. But they let the market decide. They were swayed by the market and unfortunately justice lost out this time.”Hill went on to say that same-sex discrimination was the last publicly acceptable form of discrimination.“Surely anti-gay sentiments are still prevalent in this country,” he added. “It’s the last thing you can say in public space and it be acceptable. You can run for president not liking gay people. You can have a TV show not liking gay people. If you were to say that about women, blacks or disabled people, you wouldn’t have a job. But the LGBT community — it’s the last form of discrimination that’s publicly acceptable. That’s what we learned from this – that it’s still OK to not like gay people in full public space. You can get rich off of it.”